Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Social Justice Event: Kate McKinnon from Saturday Night Live

      On April 21st, Rhode Island College was graced with the opportunity to host the comedian and actress, Kate McKinnon, most noted from her work on Saturday Night Live, in Roberts Auditorium. The getting to see such a powerful female figure in today's society was absolutely incredible in-and-of itself, but it also gave me opportunities to connect her and her stand-up performance to what we have been going over in class.

     I know some of you might be thinking, "How on Earth is she going to relate a comedian from SNL to what we've gone over in class?", but I assure you, there are multiple connections, especially from "Safe Spaces", the full Brown v. Board of Education segment of FNED 346, and "Schooling Children with Down Syndrome" because they all have one key component in common; acceptance.
     As you already know, Kate McKinnon is one of the most popular comedians currently on SNL. That alone is a huge accomplishment, as when a lot of people are asked to name comedians, they mainly think of famous male comedians rather than female. The connection to Brown v. Board is more closely based on gender, but none-the-less, still a valid connection. Although the article from Herbert states that, "Schools are no longer legally segregated, but because of residential patterns, housing discrimination, economic disparities and long-held custom, they most emphatically are in reality", this can be applied to gender, which can then be applied to SCWAAMP. It is believed that you can only truly succeed by being a male, while women continue to be segregated against in the work force, while out on their own, or really anything. Some believe that to be a woman is to be weak, dumb, and submissive, but women are moving up in the world finally thanks to some major figures. Along with others such as Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, Maya Rudolph, and Kristen Wiig, McKinnon has been helping to pave the way for women across the nation by not being afraid to show the world what women are capable of doing, refusing to let any boundaries get in her way of achieving her goals. In this way, her actions can be related to both the "Schooling Children with Down Syndrome" reading by Christopher Kliewer, although again replacing gender with disabilities, but in this case, again relating to SCWAAMP, the female gender can be seen as a disability. In the excerpt we were instructed to read from the book, Kliewer stated that we should form, "... actual educational arenas where all students are welcomed, no voice is silenced, and children come to realize their own self-worth through the unconditional acceptance of one another" (Page 74). This connects to McKinnon because through SNL and her career, she has found a place in her life where she is welcomed, isn't silenced in what she has to say about anything, and she realizes her self-worth based on her fans and her fellow actors who continue to support her every day, as she does with them.

     Although both Brown v. Board and "Schooling Children with Down Syndrome" can be related to McKinnon and her performance, the reading that most closely connects to her and her stand-up routine on the 21st has to be "Safe Spaces". As some of you may or may not know, Kate McKinnon is a lesbian and completely open about her sexuality, going so far as to make a skit out of it on SNL with close friend and co-worker Aidy Bryant, which can be seen here. Even in her stand-up routine in Roberts, she made subtle gestures to her sexuality through a fake PowerPoint she created for senior thesis topics and saying how she finally had a partner which got a rousing applause, but then brought the audience into laughter by saying that it was her cat. In "Safe Spaces", August states, "Assumptions, if left unchallenged and unexamined, can devolve into active bigotry. Bigotry is a heat-seeking missile- it will find its target" (Page 88). Based this quote, Kate McKinnon, through her talent of comedy, has defied any prejudice against her by showing the world that she doesn't care what the world thinks of her; she knows who she is and she is proud of the person she has become. Her sexuality has a place in her life, but she doesn't let it control what people think of her

(Here a clip of one of the songs she made up for the show at RIC! Enjoy! :D )

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